The 18th Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan,passed on 19th April 2010, led to major shifts in entitlements, decision making, and responsibilities across the federation. As part of the 18th amendment,a new article 25-A declaring “the State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of age 5-16 years in such a manner as may be determined by law” was also finally made a part of the constitution.
Since subjects on which earlier both federal and provincial governments could make laws were devolved completely to the provinces, the responsibility of implementing 25-A also fell to each individual province.
Following the Amendment, in 2012 the Islamabad Capital Territory was the first to introduce the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act which states that all children between the ages of five to sixteen in the Capital Territory will be provided free education. It also acknowledges that ‘Where a child has not been admitted in any school or though admitted, could not complete his education, then he shall be admitted in an appropriate class in a formal or non-formal school’.
Sindh followed suit and introduced the Sindh Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act in 2013, Punjab introduced the Punjab Free and Compulsory Education Act in 2014, and Baluchistan introduced the Baluchistan Compulsory Education Act also in 2014. KP has a draft Act prepared but it has yet to officially introduce the Act.
While these ambitious Acts make education free and compulsory – a very positive step in the right direction, Rules of Business – which describe and elaborate upon policy and procedures of the Act – are still not in place. ITA after through research and with the assistance of professional lawyers has put together drafts of Shadow Business Rules for the Sindh, Punjab and ICT Acts which can be viewed below.